A Dangerous Step by Martin
A week after Casey Martin drove to victory at the Nike tour's season-opening Lakeland Classic, his ballyhooed motoring turned less happy. Arnold Palmer gave a deposition on behalf of the PGA Tour, which will oppose Martin in federal court on Feb. 2, and Jack Nicklaus is scheduled to do the same. Last Thursday, still flustered by the grilling he had taken on CNN's Crossfire from the show's cohost John Sununu (bottom left), Martin shot 76 in the first round of the Nike South Florida Classic in Pompano Beach, all but ensuring that he would miss the cut, which he did the next day after a second-round 71. All of which could explain why Martin, riding a ground-swell of support—one poll has 78% of respondents in his favor—nonetheless began to think negatively about his lawsuit against the Tour, and in so doing took what might have been a wrong turn.
Until last week Martin had said losing his case would end his career. "It's either ride a cart or I'm done," he had told SI. Martin has repeatedly explained that the congenital circulatory condition in his lower right leg, Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome, makes walking painful and, at times, impossible. Few doubt this claim. While Martin was playing at Stanford, Pac-10 coaches voted 10-0 to allow him to take a cart at the 1995 conference championship. But at Pompano Beach, Martin planted a seed of doubt when he was asked again what he'll do if he loses. "I'll be out there walking," he said. "I'll give it a go. My leg has been feeling better the last couple of months."
To talk about losing is seldom advisable, but Martin's statement was especially surprising. Until he raised the possibility of walking, Martin had a sense of urgency on his side. He lost that. Few people will realize that Martin's chances on foot are "slim and none," as he said later, and fewer still are likely to appreciate the medical risks associated with walking on a leg that has already lost a fair amount of muscle and cartilage.
"In Casey's case the lower extremity is abnormal relative to bone, soft tissue and vascular system," says Donald Jones, Martin's orthopedic specialist in Oregon. "It is certainly safe to say that extended periods of walking will not in any way benefit his extremity's well-being."
In fact, Martin probably can't compete without a cart. That he went winless in two years as a pro, then won his first Nike event in a cart suggests as much. As he awaits his court date, Martin would do well to stick to his earlier assertion: no cart, no play.
Ryder Cup Has Registers Ringing in Brookline
The 1999 Ryder Cup is 20 months away, but already it looks as if the event will be a monumental moneymaker for the host community of Brookline, a suburb of Boston. To use town land for parking and other tournament operations, the Country Club has been asked to pay Brookline an estimated $3 million.
Local residents will also reap windfalls because of the enormous corporate demand for private homes and country clubs to entertain clients. A week's use of a home near the course will cost up to $60,000. BankBoston, meanwhile, has agreed to pay the Charles River Country Club $500,000 to take it over for Ryder Cup week, Sept. 20-26.